Hypertensive Heart Disease
The true cause of high blood pressure is now known. A great deal of experimental work is being carried out in the hope of finding some clue, but unfortunately there are still many gaps in our knowledge concerning hypertension. High blood pressure is very common in all parts of the world. It comes on most frequently during the middle years of life. Many different factors probably help to account for this. But there is no question that high blood pressure does run in families.
At least one person in every twenty has hypertension or high blood pressure in one form or another. There is no reason to be alarmed over a transitory rise in blood pressure during some period of excitement. This is not serious. But when the pressure remains high over a long period of time, the heart is always under a heavy rain. However, a high pressure seems to be less serious in some people, particularly women. Their arteries seem to be more flexible, perhaps because of the female hormone. In any case, hypertension is always more serious in middle-aged men. Certain medicines now available can be used to relieved the condition, but so far we still have no complete cure.
Moderate hypertension is not quite so serious in later life. In most elderly people there is some tendency for the heart to become enlarged, probably because the blood vessels throughout the body have lost their normal elasticity. In some cases there is narrowing of blood vessels leading to the kidneys. This may reduce the amount of blood passing through those organs with the result that certain substances, such as rennin and Antonin, are released into the bloodstream. This act of the arterioles, elevating the blood pressure. The body may be trying to shunt more blood through the kidneys for more complete filtering.
All this places an extra strain upon the heart in overcoming the elevated pressure. At the same time the heart must keep the circulation going normally to meet the need of the body. Under this extra load the heart may begin to fail. Hypertensive heart disease is a frequent cause of death today.
Hypertensive Heart Disease Treatment:
Unfortunately, we still have no cure for high blood pressure. Rauwolfia has been used in India for many centuries, and has been beneficial in the treatment of hypertension. Reserpine is the refined form of rauwolfia. Chlorothiazide (Diuril) and its various derivatives are also valuable, particularly in relieving the body excess sodium and unnecessary amounts of water. This lower strain upon the heart.
Relieving the hypertension by the use of suitable medicines may not cure the patient, but it may help him to live a relatively normal life in spite of his disability.